Sustainable Leader: Åse Buvik

One of our role models in sustainable leadership is Åse Buvik, Senior Manager Strategic Sourcing Maintenance at Purchasing.

Åse works across the Group and manages a team of strategic purchasers. She has been working as a manager since 2002, after having attending a one-year management programme at her then employer. “I was first attracted by management and the possibility of developing as a person on various levels, and have since also really enjoyed helping employees to develop,” says Åse.

What does “I lead change and performance” mean for you in your everyday activities?
"I am based in Gävle and manage my team remotely, as my colleagues are scattered around the mills. I would say that change and performance are achieved through coaching and close dialogue. When I started at Billerud two years ago, I was able to go out to the mills and meet my colleagues, and check on how their activities and goals were going. Now, after a year and a half of remote working, it has become important to have frequent check-ins via Teams, where we talk about each individual’s activities and challenges, and I try to coach them to identify solutions. I have found that it is most effective to have a regular slot every other week with each employee, as non-urgent issues can often wait for the booked time while urgent issues can be dealt with spontaneously if needed on a daily basis. We also have short weekly and monthly meetings with the whole team, where we can make plans and carry out joint change work."

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a sustainable leader?
"For me, it means creating the conditions for employees to achieve high goals while also feeling good and enjoying their work."

Being a manager is a big responsibility. What do you find challenging in the role?
"It has definitely become a challenge to keep up with my own work combined with all the Teams meetings that have become a daily occurrence these days. The calendar is often full of Teams meetings every day, and on top of that there is my own work and other preparations that are difficult to fit in sometimes."

What do you do to recover/re-energise?
"I live in the countryside, with nature around me, so I have started growing vegetables, to become more self-sufficient in this time of turmoil that we have had. In addition to the exercise that comes from digging in the garden, I go to group training sessions at the gym – they make my body feel good and really help me switch off and clear my head."

What is the best/most enjoyable thing about being a manager and leader?
"Achieving goals together as a team and having fun along the way. The best thing is when we can have fun and laugh a bit at the meetings too; everything can’t be serious all the time."

What is the most important thing for you in your leadership?
"I think the most important thing is to be part of an organisation that is constantly evolving, that we take steps forward in our development, challenge current ways of working and constantly strive for continuous improvement."

What makes you proud of working at Billerud?
"What makes me proud is that it feels like we want to make a real difference. That we challenge conventional packaging to facilitate a sustainable future."

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